Why do America’s police need an armored tank?

LencoBy Justin Hyde
for Jalopnik.com


America’s most in-demand police vehicle is a ten-officer 16,000-pound armored tank that takes bullets like Superman and drives 80 mph. The federal government buys dozens each year for local police departments. Do America’s local police need tanks?

Every day, America produces a fresh batch of barricaded gunmen, some of whom want to lure police into a shootout. Roughly 50 police officers are killed every year, most in shootings, and many during arrests or ambushes.

Which is where the Lenco BearCat G3 rolls in.

“If somebody looks out and sees a Ford Crown Victoria sitting out there, they may not take you very seriously,” Warren County, Va., Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron told a local newspaper in October, “but if they look out the window and see this thing sitting there, they’re going to know you’re serious.”

The BearCat G3 claims the vast majority of armored personnel carrier sales to SWAT teams in the United States. Fashioned from a Ford F-550 commercial truck chassis, Massachusetts-based Lenco builds about 200 such vehicles in year, in grades from “VIP SUV” to combat-ready with gun turrets. The massive roller is actually a smaller version of the BEAR, or Ballistic Engineered Armored Response vehicle, which Lenco builds for armies and law enforcement agencies around the world.

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